Blackpool college still has crucial role in energy sector despite halt to fracking

A Blackpool college dedicated to the energy sector still has a key role to play despite the suspension of fracking.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 11:45 am

When the £9.8m Lancashire Energy Headquarters (LEHQ) opened on the site of the former passenger terminal at Blackpool Airport in September 2017, it was designated as the national training centre for the fracking industry.

Funding for the college included £6.2m from the government's Growth Deal.

But a government moratorium suspending fracking indefinitely has curtailed demand in the sector.

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Lancashire Energy College

However Blackpool and the Fylde College, which the energy centre on Squires Gate Lane is part of, says factors including increasing demand for power and the threat of climate change continues to fuel the need for training.

LEHQ operations manager Candice Downie said: “Energy and how it’s delivered has never been a more important issue to the world around us.

“And Lancashire Energy HQ is playing an increasingly crucial role in helping organisations and their workforces adapt to changing times and requirements.”

The founding cohort of BAE Systems’ students on the Aerospace Engineering degree apprenticeship programme will graduate next year, while workers from

Westinghouse Springfield Fuels, near Kirkham, are part way through a Nuclear Engineering degree apprenticeship.

The college also provides more than 30 training master classes for workers at companies on the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, supported by the European Social Fund.

There are currently more than 50 energy, advanced manufacturing and engineering courses and opportunities to help companies in the traditional energy sectors to upskill workforces.

The college is expected to cater for more than 1,000 students eventually.

It is part of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone which is being developed by Blackpool Council.

The £5.6m of Growth Deal funding was provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to train people for jobs in the onshore oil and gas industry.